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S&P cuts the rating outlook on Santander, Sabadell, Abanca and Ibercaja to negative

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S&P Global Ratings has cut to negative from stable the perspective of the rating of Santander, Sabadell, Abanca and Ibercaja due to the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis.

S&P has kept negative the rating outlook for BBVA and Bankinter and has kept stable the perspective of Caixabank and Bankia.

"Our rating actions take into account the much more challenging economic environment that Spanish banks will face in the coming years, which has led us to review our trend of economic risk to negative from stable, "argue the agency's experts.

S&P adds that "the COVID-19 pandemic has changed (almost) everything. In addition to the human cost, much of economic activity in Spain has stopped. Our economists expect a strong economic contraction in the second quarter of 2020, followed by a rebound from the third quarter. "

Your forecast anticipates a contraction of 8.8% in 2020 and an expansion of 5.1% in 2021 and indicates that tourism will be the most affected activity and the one that will take the longest to recover. This will cause the unemployment rate to rise to 16.4% in 2020 and remain at that level in 2021.

In his opinion, Spanish banks "are well positioned to play an instrumental role in channeling low-cost credit to affected households and businesses." However, they add, although they expect banks in Spain to continue to be quite resistant to this cyclical shock, they foresee that "have a significant impact on asset quality, income, profitability and potentially capitalization"

"We hope that very few of these negative trends are clearly evident in the first quarter results of Spanish banks, but we consider that they will become increasingly evident throughout 2020 and will persist in 2021. The quality of each bank's assets will be key to this result, "they conclude.

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